The Parable of the Two Online Friends

In this modern parable, two friends navigate a moment of offense in their online interaction. Drawing on teachings from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, this narrative explores the biblical principle of “turning the other cheek” and its application in our digital age.

In a world where virtual connections have blurred geographical lines, there lived two friends, Robert and Emily, who met on a social media platform. They had never met in person, but their friendship had grown over shared interests, experiences, and discussions on faith.

One day, Emily posted a comment on Robert’s shared scripture from the Book of Mormon. Emily, unaware of how her words would be taken, wrote, “I find it hard to understand why anyone would believe in such a book.” Robert, a devoted Latter-day Saint, felt a sting of offense. He had expected Emily, being a friend, to respect his beliefs even if she didn’t agree with them.

Now, Robert could have chosen to respond with a harsh word, defending his faith with fervor, as was often the case on these platforms. Instead, he remembered the words of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew:

“But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Matthew 5:39).

He chose to turn the other cheek, both in the biblical sense and the modern digital sense. Instead of replying with offense, Robert responded, “I appreciate your perspective, Emily. I realize it may be hard to understand. Perhaps one day we can discuss the reasons why I hold such a belief.” His response was filled with kindness and respect, and a door for future dialogue was kept open.

In time, Emily began to perceive Robert’s faith in a different light, not because he had proven his points with articulate arguments, but because he had demonstrated the strength of his faith through patience and kindness. Emily’s respect for Robert and his faith deepened, and it provoked thoughtful conversations about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, conversations that were honest, open, and mutually respectful.

Now, the apparent lesson of this parable is one of kindness in the face of offense. We are encouraged to act with patience and understanding when our beliefs are questioned or ridiculed. However, for those within the church, the parable runs deeper.

To turn the other cheek doesn’t mean to merely abstain from retaliation. It means to offer love where there’s hate, understanding where there’s confusion, patience where there’s haste. It means to emulate Christ, who even while on the cross, prayed for His offenders.

In the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord declares:

“Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin” (D&C 64:9).

When we choose to turn the other cheek, we are not just forgiving others, we are inviting the Spirit to change hearts, both theirs and ours, leading to greater understanding and unity.

In this digital age, let this parable serve as a reminder that the principle of turning the other cheek extends beyond our physical interactions to our virtual ones. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are called to exemplify His teachings in all we do, in every platform and every circumstance. May we choose to respond with patience, love, and understanding, and in so doing, stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places.

Leave a Comment